LIFE DIGEST: Washington state reports 51 assisted-suicide deaths from 2010

Baptist Press
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Posted: Mar 18, 2011 5:30 PM
LIFE DIGEST: Washington state reports 51 assisted-suicide deaths from 2010
WASHINGTON (BP)--Washington state reported 51 deaths from physician-assisted suicide in 2010, its first full year after legalizing the practice.

In 2009, at least 36 deaths by means of assisted suicide were reported, but those occurred in less than 10 months.

The Washington Department of Health reported March 10 that 87 prescriptions were written in 2010 for a lethal dose of drugs to be used in assisted suicides. The deaths of 72 recipients of the prescriptions were reported, but 21 of the recipients passed away without using the drugs.

The two leading concerns expressed by those receiving the fatal prescriptions were a loss of autonomy, 90 percent, and a declining ability to take part in activities that make life enjoyable, 87 percent.

Margaret Dore, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in elder care, said the law legalizing assisted suicide is "a recipe for abuse."

"Washington's report, which does not even address whether administration of the lethal dose was voluntary, does nothing to alleviate this concern," Dore wrote in a LifeNews.com analysis. "The information provided is inherently unreliable."

Two others states -- Oregon and Montana -- have legalized assisted suicide. Oregon reported a record 65 deaths by assisted suicide in 2010. It has recorded 525 such deaths since the practice was legalized in 1997. Montana has not released a report for 2010, its first year after legalization.

Meanwhile, the Idaho Senate approved legislation March 11 making clear that assisted suicide is against the law, The Idaho Statesman reported. Senators voted 31-2 for the bill. The House of Representatives has yet to act on the proposal.

KANSAS DOCTOR: 5 YEARS, 5 DEATHS -- Five women have died from abortions in Kansas in the last five years, an abortion doctor told a state legislative committee March 10 in what one pro-life leader described as a "bombshell admission."

Herbert Hodes, an abortion doctor in Overland Park, Kan., estimated before a House of Representatives committee there have been "five deaths in the last five years" because of abortion. Hodes testified against a bill that would strengthen regulation of abortion clinics.

A state pro-life leader said the public had been unaware of any maternal deaths from abortion since Christin Gilbert, 19, died in January 2005 after a late-term abortion at the since-closed Wichita clinic of the late George Tiller.

Hodes' admission demonstrates why the proposal to stiffen abortion licensing requirements is needed, said Katy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life's legislative director.

"So, an abortionist who came to oppose clinic licensure inadvertently gave us the very reason to pass this legislation!" Ostrowski wrote on her blog. "This begs the question if there were that many maternal abortion deaths, how many abortion injuries are occurring?"

MORE CLINICS CLOSED -- Two more Philadelphia, Pa., abortion clinics have closed after inspections uncovered deplorable conditions, according to a report from the state health department.

Both clinics were operated by Soleiman Soli, 83, who retired and shut down the clinics Nov. 19 rather than correct the shortcomings found in inspections earlier in the month, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported March 11.

The transgressions, which were found at both clinics, included containers of the remains of aborted babies in exam-room cabinets, no recovery rooms or resuscitation equipment, drugs that had expired more than 30 years before and the lack of a transfer agreement with a hospital, according to The Inquirer.

In January, Kermit Gosnell was charged with the murders of a 41-year-old patient and seven babies who made up only a small portion of hundreds of viable fully delivered children whose spinal cords were severed with scissors at his now-closed clinic in West Philadelphia. A raid of the Women's Medical Society, Gosnell's clinic, found horrifying conditions, with the remains of 45 infants stored in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons and cat-food containers, according to a grand jury report.

"Are we surprised that inspections at two more Philadelphia-area abortion centers uncovered atrocious, unsanitary conditions? No. We expect more revelations," said Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, according to a CitizenLink report.

FIVE DAYS, 35 BABIES SAVED--The latest 40 Days for Life campaign has recorded 35 unborn children saved from abortion after only five days, the organization reported March 14.

The effort, which began March 9, is the largest of 40 Days for Life's eight campaigns. Since its first national campaign in 2007, 40 Days has grown from 89 participating locations to 247 cities this spring in the United States and 10 other countries.

The biannual campaign consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting to end abortion, as well as community outreach and peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics. In the fall 2010 effort, 607 unborn babies were reportedly saved. So far, there have been nearly 3,600 unborn children spared from abortion during 40 Days campaigns, according to reports to the organization.

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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